5th Whosyercon Title for Stephen in Final Event
Stephen's inexplicable good luck in the Indy Squadron's Whosyercon Open continued this year with the 5-time champ scoring the game's only air-to-air kill and cruising to victory in a lopsided battle set in October 1918. Rick Lacy designed a great scenario with some unique airplanes:
Bob Meister, SPAD XIII (US)
Rick Lacy, Sopwith Dolphin (2 deck mounted Vickers)
AJ Meister, Fokker DVI
Stephen Skinner, Junkers DI
George Henion, Pfalz DXII
2014 Whosyercon winner George Henion couldn't get a good initiative number but quickly settled into a support role, positioning himself to assist his wingmen but never actually scoring a single bullet on an enemy airplane during the brief game.
Both Allies (Rick and Bob) were defensive from the outset, unable to get either an initiative roll or a decisive shot into a German airplane despite the ineffectiveness of George's Pfalz. Both exchanged fire with the enemy in the opening turns, but the game's crescendo came on Turn 5 when initiative order and common sense caused Rick's Dolphin and George's Pfalz to distance themselves from the combat in order to avoid multiple attackers. They went in opposite directions, leaving the SPAD XIII of 2019 squadron champion Bob Meister in a lopsided battle against the red hot guns of AJ and Stephen, both of whom had scored good bursts in the previous turns.
AJ's bottom shot missed, but the Spandaus of Stephen's Junkers fighter were dead on target and moving up one table on the damage chart due to Stephen's successful tailing attempt. Taking fire from the tail, Bob's SPAD received a critical hit that forced his SPAD into a circle and a fatal pilot wound that rendered the damage irrelevant. As the SPAD crashed heavily into the mud of No Man's Land, Stephen's Junkers dove onto the tail of Rick's Dolphin in the hopes of scoring a double kill while AJ's Fokker was caught on the wrong side of the movement order and was soon left behind.
Outnumbered three to one, Rick's Dolphin had little choice but to escape the combat. Stephen's Junkers tailed successfully for the game's final three turns but was slowly outdistanced by the faster Sopwith, bringing the 9th Whosyercon Open to an end.
Stephen has competed in eight of the nine Whosyercon Open tournaments, winning five and never finishing lower than second place in the event, which remains an all-time squadron record for all events going back to 1988. He will be sorry to see this event come to an end (see next story for details). The final scores were as follows:
Stephen Skinner, Junkers DI 73 points
AJ Meister, Fokker DVI 35
Rick Lacy, Sopwith Dolphin 25
George Henion, Pfalz DXII 15
Bob Meister, SPAD XIII 10
Whosyercon Open Suspended
Since 2014, the Whosyercon Open has been the Indy Squadron's headline event at Indiana's Whosyercon gaming convention. But after the introduction of the media narrative known as "Covid-19," the convention ceased operations. The Indy Squadron has continued to hold the Open for the past two years in the hope that the convention would be renewed as the official virus narrative continued to fall apart. Nevertheless Whosyercon still remains in limbo.
During our gaming event on December 31, 2022, the squadron voted to suspend the Whosyercon Open until further notice simply because the con has ceased to exist. If and when the convention resumes operations, the squadron will reconsider the status of the event and whether to renew the Whosyercon Open. In the meantime, the Open has give us some outstanding games and great memories over the past nine years.
Tournament Escape Rule Challenged
Like a bad cold, the Indy Squadron's debate over the 10 point "Force Enemy to Escape" bonus in tournament scoring has come back yet again. Fortunately, in this case the game didn't hang in the balance. The current Indy Squadron house rule reads:
+10 for forcing an enemy to escape via normal escape rules or any other de facto means. Principle: was the escape made following damage inflicted by the plane in question for the purpose of avoiding an attack or potential attack on the following turn?
This reading was adopted in the early 1990's after a controversial tournament in which it was argued that the 10 point bonus should not be awarded because an escape was never officially declared, despite the fact that the airplane in question had been fired upon in the previous turn, was seriously hit, and immediately left the combat on the following turn.
It was decided that language needed to be added to the house rules so that this could never happen again. The language was to be explicit, covering both declared escapes and any other de facto means of extricating one's self from combat following a successful and determined attack by an enemy. We did our best to cover every possible situation with the most universal language possible.
But in this year's Whosyercon Open, it was argued that an airplane that was outnumbered three to one, was targeted by an opponent, hit by that opponent, and successfully tailed three times in a row by that opponent could leave combat on the following turn and not be considered as having been forced to escape. The argument prevailed and the bonus was not awarded to the attacking airplane, but the greater point is this - our best attempt to address this precise scenario failed miserably.
After a brief discussion, the matter was tabled for another day with the following options:
- Re-interpret the existing rule and add clarifying language,
- Change the intent of the rule and don't even attempt to cover the scenarios we were trying to address, or
- Remove the "Force Enemy to Escape" bonus from the scoring system altogether.
We will reconsider our options and try to come up with a better rule at the next gaming day.
Evolution of the WW1 Fighter
December 31 Gaming Report
Five players gathered at the home of Bob and Donna Meister near Thorntown, Indiana on New Year's Eve 2022. We normally hold New Year's Day gaming on... well... New Year's Day, but this year it fell on a Sunday with a number of people unable to participate. So the annual New Year's Day event was moved to New Year's Eve. We also held the 2022 Whosyercon Open on this date, having postponed it since spring in the hopes that the convention would return.
The delicious spread provided by Donna defies description, which is par for the course when Mrs. Meister is in the kitchen. Our thanks go to the Meister family for hosting and feeding the whole crew.
The first of three games featured Rick and Stephen (LTN Johannes Kahle, 16/4) in Albatrosses against a trio of British RE 8's on a bombing mission (AJ, George and Bob). The Germans teamed up against Bob's RE 8 until the Brit was compelled to cut his engine to low throttle and glide to a safe landing in Allied lines.
Game two was the Whosyercon Open (see lead story). Game three featured Stephen and Rick in Berg DI's on the Italian front against George and Bob in Hanriot HD-1's. The Austro-Hungarians flamed a nearby Italian balloon hanging at 350 feet with the credit going to Stephen's pilot (FW Arndt Bergholgen, 6/2). Both Hanriots chased Rick's Berg, allowing Stephen a clean escape. Rick eventually lost his pursuers and landed at his home field.